RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Following news reports that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy reimbursed employees for making political donations, the non-partisan advocacy group Common Cause NC filed a complaint with the NC State Board of Elections and called on Atty. Gen. Josh Stein (D) to launch a criminal investigation.
“It might be a way of expediting, kind of getting something moving on this,” said Bob Phillips, executive director of Common Cause NC. “We’d like to see something done. I don’t think it’ll happen before the election, but it’s alarming to see.”
To view the complaint, click here.
The Washington Post first reported on the donations Sunday and interviewed several former employees, quoting a retired human resources director at DeJoy’s company, New Breed Logistics, as saying DeJoy asked employees to donate to candidates and would later pay them bonuses to cover the costs. Click here to view.
“That’s a felony if that’s true. That is against the North Carolina election laws we have, and we think it should be investigated,” said Phillips. “Hope it’s not true. And, that’s up to the investigation to determine. But, if it is, then certainly Mr. DeJoy needs to be held accountable.”
The Washington Post reported 124 New Breed employees donated more than $1 million to federal and state Republican candidates between 2000 and 2014.
Before taking over earlier this year as Postmaster General, DeJoy was a prominent fund raiser supporting Republican candidates, including Sen. Thom Tillis. The Post reported New Breed employees donated nearly $300,000 to campaign committees supporting Tillis in his initial run for Senate in 2014. A spokesman for Tillis said he had no knowledge of the behavior alleged in the article.
“The appearance of taking money that seems to have this kind of cloud over it, I think candidates and campaigns should be prepared to return the money,” said Phillips.
A spokesperson for DeJoy did not respond to a request for comment about the complaint filed by Common Cause but told CBS 17 earlier this week:
Louis DeJoy, in his personal capacity and as CEO of New Breed Logistics, encouraged employees and family members to be active in their communities, schools, churches, civic groups, sporting events and the politics that governs our nation. Mr. DeJoy consistently provided family members and employees with various volunteer opportunities to get involved in activities that a family member or employee might feel was important or enjoyable to that individual.
Mr. DeJoy was never notified by the New Breed employees referenced by the Washington Post of any pressure they might have felt to make a political contribution, and he regrets if any employee felt uncomfortable for any reason.
During his leadership of New Breed Logistics, Mr. DeJoy sought and received legal advice from the former General Counsel of the Federal Election Commission on election laws, including the law of political contributions, to ensure that he, New Breed Logistics and any person affiliated with New Breed fully complied with any and all laws. Mr. DeJoy believes that all campaign fundraising laws and regulations should be complied with in all respects.
While there is a statute of limitations at the federal level with regard to campaign finance crimes, Stein noted there is no statute of limitations with regard to felonies at the state level.
“It’s worthy of investigation by the appropriate federal and state authorities,” Stein told CBS 17. “There is liability for all participants in a scheme of a straw-man donor.”
Phillips said his group is also considering reaching out directly to the district attorneys in Wake County, which has investigated previous election-related matters, and Guilford County, where DeJoy’s business was based.
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